BREAKING: According To Obama, Europeans Were “Kicking And Screaming” In Response To Russia’s Decision To Invade Crimea

Associated Press/Alastair Grant

It was recently reported that former President Obama said in an interview Thursday that he often had to force European countries into responding to Russian aggression.

In an interview with journalist Jeffrey Goldberg, Obama claimed that he took proactive measures against Europe and needed to twist arms to get a similarly proportional response from European nations. Obama has been criticized for his soft stance on Russia throughout his presidency.

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“As somebody who grappled with the incursion into Crimea and the Eastern portions of Ukraine, I have been encouraged by the European reaction,” Obama said.

“Because in 2014, I often had to drag them kicking and screaming to respond in ways we would have wanted to see,” he added.

Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney predicted in 2012 that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe,” a comment that drew criticism from Obama. 

“A few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not al Qaeda,” Obama said during the third presidential debate between him and Romney in October 2012. “And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.”

Democrat Arizona Rep. Ruben Gallego criticized former President Obama in February for the way he handled situations with Russia during his presidency and said that some of his actions contributed to the problems we’re seeing today as turmoil in Ukraine intensifies.

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in February on CNN that he wished the Obama administration had done more to punish Russia for invading and annexing the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.

“I wish we as an administration had been more aggressive in 2014,” Clapper said.

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It was further reported that in 2014, after Russia annexed Crimea and expressed support for pro-Kremlin rebels in the Donbas region of Ukraine, Obama moved to punish Putin with sanctions on Russian entities, also banning US exports to and imports from Crimea.

The EU also imposed economic sanctions on Crimea.

However, Russia pressed ahead with completing the annexation. In one case, the US sanctioned Bank Rossiya, saying it was the bank of Russia’s elite, a move which Putin derided.

“I personally didn’t have an account there, but I’ll definitely open an account there on Monday,” he said.

At the time, Obama painted a picture of unity between the US and the EU over Russia.

“If anyone in the Russian leadership thought the world wouldn’t care about their actions in Ukraine or that they could drive a wedge between the European Union and the US, they clearly miscalculated,” Obama said during a 2014 trip to Europe.

This does not line up with his assessment eight years later, when Obama was clear there were internal disputes.

Putin found little common ground with Obama

Obama too has been criticized for showing weakness toward Putin.

In 2014, Mitt Romney, who ran against Obama for president in 2012, said Obama was naive in his approach to Russia. In 2017, former President Donald Trump outright blamed Obama for letting Putin take Crimea.

Critics of Obama often point to a comment he made to Romney during a 2012 presidential debate to show how wrong he’s been over Russia.

“The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years,” Obama told Romney.

The relationship between Obama and Putin was extremely tense and often marked by derision from the Russian leader.

Shortly after becoming president, Obama showed his intent to form good relations with Russia, calling for “a reset” and saying it was time to shed the legacy of the Cold War and to move on.

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